By Prof Dr Ian Blackshaw
After four months of lockdown, the recreational game of cricket in the UK has been allowed to resume from 11 July, following Governmental approval, but subject to strict guidelines.
Village greens, sports clubs and playing fields will once again echo to the sound of leather on willow throughout the land as the cricket bat hits the ball.
The guidelines are complex and are as follows:
– Matches to be limited to a maximum of 30 people, including players, match officials and coaches.
– Players to maintain social distancing at wicket celebrations – wicketkeepers and slip fielders May observe one metre plus instead.
– Regular hygiene breaks to sanitise players’ hands and the ball – every six overs or twenty minutes.
– Players to minimise their contact with the ball – including passing it straight back to the bowler after each delivery and no use, at any time, of saliva to shine the ball.
– Batters to run between the wickets in distinct running lanes to keep their distance from both the bowler and their batting partner.
– Sharing of equipment to be discouraged, with batters and wicketkeepers to sanitise their bats and their gloves after leaving the field of play.
There will be no match teas and shared drinks breaks, and restrictions on the use of communal facilities, such as clubhouse bars, will remain.
The return of the recreational game of cricket has been hailed as a great opportunity for the sport.
Incidentally, the international and professional game of cricket has been the first to resume anywhere in the world with the playing, in Southampton, of the First Test Match between England and the West Indies, which started on 8 July.
Prof Dr Ian Blackshaw may be contacted by e-mail at ‘firstname.lastname@example.org’